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Belfast City Airport

Volume 400: debated on Monday 3 March 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether Government grants will be made available for further development of Belfast City Airport. [99415]

There are no plans to make grants available for any further development of this airport.

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will commission an independent environmental and economic assessment into the proposed development of Belfast City Airport. [99416]

The Department of the Environment has not received any proposals for development at Belfast City Airport. Any necessary assessments will be considered in the context of any specific proposals put forward to Planning Service by the Belfast City Airport authority.

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement on the local community consultations procedures being followed in assessing noise consequences of growth in airport operations at Belfast City Airport. [99565]

The Department for Regional Development is currently undertaking a review of noise pollution at all Northern Ireland airports.During the course of this study the Department has actively sought to involve and consult local residents' groups as well as the Belfast City Airport Forum.The Department has also shared with interested groups the findings of the initial scoping study and plans to make the final report available in due course.

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what plans he has to change the night flights curfew of 9.30 pm to 6.30 am at Belfast City Airport; and whether changes require a full public inquiry. [99566]

The Department of the Environment's Planning Service and Belfast City Airport have a planning agreement, signed in January 1997, under Article 40 of the Planning (Northern Ireland) Order 1991. This agreement includes controls on operating hours to restrict scheduled flights to between 06.30 hours and 21.30 hours. The agreement makes provision for delayed flights to arrive between 21.30 hours and 23.59 hours.To date, no formal approach has been made to Planning Service seeking provision to be made for later flights. The need for a public inquiry is a matter for consideration in the light of any changes proposed to operations at Belfast City Airport.

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what estimate he has made of whether Belfast City Airport will exceed 1,500,000 seats for sale on Scheduled Flights in the next 12 months as specified in Article 40 Agreement dated 22 January 1997 between Belfast City Airport, Short Bros and the Department of Environment for Northern Ireland. [99567]

The Department of the Environment's Planning Service and Belfast City Airport have a planning agreement, signed in January 1997, under Article 40 of the Planning (Northern Ireland) Order 1991. This agreement includes limits on the number of seats offered for sale on scheduled flights to 1,500,000 seats in any 12-month period.I am not in a position to estimate whether Belfast City Airport will exceed the allocated 1,500,000 seats for sale on Scheduled Flights in the next 12 months.

The agreement requires Belfast City Airport to provide information to Planning Service in order to maintain compliance with the agreement. To date, the information has indicated that the number of seats offered for sale has been within the limit specified. The latest monitoring figures available from Belfast City Airport indicate that the number of seats offered for sale up to 30 September 2002 was 1,479,267 and is therefore close to the 1,500,000 limit. Planning Service has requested information from Belfast City Airport regarding numbers of seats offered for sale for the 12 months up to 31 January 2003, and projected figures for-seats offered for sale for the next 12 months taking account of any change to services currently being negotiated.

Planning Service officials have arranged to meet with representatives from BelfastCity Airport shortly to discuss the position.

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether the Department of Regional Development has been consulted by the authorities at Belfast City Airport with regard to the hours of operation of that airport. [99975]

This is a matter for the Department of the Environment and not the Department for Regional Development. However, no formal approach has been made to either Department.

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what procedures the Department of the Environment intends to follow on receipt of an application to amend the present planning agreement governing the operation of Belfast City Airport. [99976]

It should be noted that the Department of the Environment has not yet received any request from Belfast City Airport to alter the terms of the existing agreement.Upon receipt of an application to amend the present planning agreement governing the operation of Belfast City Airport, the Department of the Environment would examine the application on its merits. In particular, this would involve considering whether a new planning agreement was required and the most appropriate method of dealing with the application, including the possibility of holding a public inquiry.